Elderberry Cordial Syrup and Tonic

This recipe is for those who have the luxury of an abundance of elderberries. Very refreshing, and very good for you. 

It is delicious served with one part syrup, a twist of lemon, ice and four to five parts water or soda water.

When it’s made and before you bottle it, just take a tablespoon or two in a (heatproof) glass and top up with 4 to 5 parts water. Taste to see if it is acidic enough. I found I had to add a little extra citric acid to achieve the taste I liked.

If it does need a little more, just put back on the heat, add a teaspoon or so extra citric acid. Bring back just to the boiling point, then turn off the heat immediately and bottle and seal.

Elderberry Cordial Syrup

1.5kg elderberries
1.5 litres water
½ cup white or cider vinegar
3 to 4 teaspoons citric acid

Place the berries and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes.

Strain through a colander, and then strain the resulting liquid through a kitchen sieve lined with a layer of muslin.

For each cup of the resulting liquid add one cup of sugar.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat immediately to a bare simmer and cook for two minutes more. Stir in the vinegar and citric acid, pour into sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

Elderberry Tonic

When I first tasted the tonic from which this recipe concept was derived, I thought the flavour was amazing. Not only that, as the advertisement (for something I can’t recall) once said “You can almost feel it doing you good”.

Many recipes for this tonic (or cordial, as some name it) are easily found on the internet.  This is my version.

The amount of honey may seem staggering to some; indeed I was quite surprised to find out that 1 cup of honey actually weighs in at 375g. (Be sure that people are not allergic to honey before offering them a taste by the way).

Most recipes specify a similar amount and remember that if the honey content is reduced, then the tonic will not keep well.

Add to this the fact that probably a mere couple of teaspoonfuls a day would be all that would be normally consumed, it’s not really a huge amount.

A splash of this tonic in hot water is apparently effective in relieving the symptoms of a cold or flu.  This is hardly surprising as elderflowers and elderberries have been considered for thousands of years to be the ‘medicine chest of the country folk’.

You can make a smaller amount than specified here of course, but be sure to keep the quantities in the correct proportions.

And so now our fridge has an ample supply, as it certainly should be refrigerated. It should then keep for up to 12 months.

Oh yes, and a little hint – remove the berries from the stalks with the the tines of a fork, sort of scrape them off.  It’s certainly the most effective way.  Be sure not to include any of the stalk in your tonic mixture. (A couple of reminder photos follow the recipe).

Not suitable for children under eighteen months

900g fresh picked elderberries

2.75 litres water

300g finely chopped or grated green ginger

Grated rind 1 lemon

Juice 1 lemon

2 cinnamon sticks

6 cloves

2.250kg honey

Place the elderberries in a large jam pan or saucepan with the water, ginger, lemon rind and juice, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Bring to the boil stirring often, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a gentle boil for one hour (by this time the liquid should have reduced to about half the original volume).

Strain over another large pot (I use a kitchen sieve).

Leave to stand for 20 minutes, then stir in the honey until completely dissolved. (if your honey has crystallised, add to the elderflower liquid after standing 10 minutes instead of 20)

Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.  Refrigerate when cool.IMG_1466IMG_1471